Monday, April 14, 2008

Cloth Diapering

Cloth Diapering is amazing. Simply Amazing. I can't stress enough how relieved I am that we made this decision. Doug and I don't live on very much money month to month, so I never could quite make myself believe it was a good idea to pay $15 twice a week for something for our baby to poop in.

Not only that, but I learned that it is estimated that each diaper takes about 500 year to decompose- all the while leaching petrochemical by products into the landfill and eventually into the ground water. Yeck.

And why do diapers need all that bleaching, perfume, and absorbent gel? Because disposable diapers are so well made now that your baby can sit in his or her own waste for hours and not feel uncomfortable. How nice.


You can consider cloth diapers where the biggest environmental impact is growing the fiber to make the diapers and then washing them as they are dirtied. I wash one load of diapers a day with an estimated $.50 per load in washing soap, water, and electricity costs. Probably less since our washer is brand new this year.

I made 90% of the cloth diapers that we use. We did receive a gift of a box of diapers and we love both types. However, it is so easy and economical to make your own, that it is not necessary to purchase expensive diapers from lofty websites or boutique stores.

If you are just entering the world of cloth diapering, let me give you a quick run down of some of the terms you might encounter:

AIO (All in One) This is a diaper that, while cloth, it has a plastic/vinylized fabric as the outer layer to keep moisture in. The diaper around you baby's tush is cloth and absorbent. It is often sewn in the "contoured" fashion.

Contoured Diaper- Sewn to fit the form of your baby, much the way a disposable is shaped. Often these diapers have snaps, clips, buttons, or velcro to secure them.

Pre-Fold diapers- Where it be Indian or Chinese, prefold diapers are sewn to secure a soaker pad in the middle of a square or rectangle of cloth. The "prefold" is a misnomer for many as it still requires folding and pinning with either a traditional diaper pin or a Snappi which is kindof like an ace bandage holder for cloth diapers.

Flat Fold Diapers- a big square of cloth. You need to know how to fold it, but with a few seconds of practice, you can quickly fold a square of fabric to swaddle your baby's bum. This is by far the most economical version of diapering as little to no sewing is required.

Soaker Pad- This is the roll of fabric between your baby's legs, sometimes a removable addition that is designed to do the dirty work of diapering.

Diaper wrap- This is something you will need if you do not use AIO diapers. This is a water resistant wrap that goes around the diaper. They have come a long way since the vinyl pants that we wore as children. Most Natural Living stores carry them, as do many online stores. You can also knit or crochet and then felt soaker pants. By lanolizing the felted result they will be moisture resistant and still allow air passage.

Now More reasons why Cloth Diapering is amazing:

We rarely have a "Diaper" smell in our house, and yet we don't use a diaper pail, diaper genie, or any other such contraption. If Nora's stool's are solid, I shake them into the toilet and flush. If not I just toss the dirty diaper into the washer. No rinsing by hand. I let the wash machine do that for me. If I am washing a lot of poopy diapers, I will run a rinse cycle before the wash cycle. Washing diapers causes little extra work as wraps, diapers, and cloth wipes go in together, get dried together and so are found easily.

We have friends who use disposables and no matter how often they take their garbage out, it always smells like a dirty diaper in their house. I think this is because the diapers get dirty long before the parent or even the child realizes it and the urine and poop actually go rancid before a diaper change is made. This rarely happens with cloth diapers. Your baby will let you know when they need a change, though contrary to popular belief, I only have to change Nora's diaper 4-5 times a day anyway.

Nora already holds her bladder through the night and has since she was about a month old. She is one year old and already shows interest in potty training and seems to know about when she need to go potty.

There is so much more information and I would love to help people diaper their children using cloth. I will sew cloth diapers at cost as I feel it is more important to cloth diaper than to profit from this necessity. Please email me at alee(@) with any questions! I will be happy to help!

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